If you have ever given thought to have a green roof, then you may know that there are several different forms of green roof available. And those can be modified to be a combination of types. The one that is generally picked for a single family home in a residential area is the form labeled extensive. This is also the one most used in a reconstruction or house remodeling project. It is also a good choice for a garage or pool room or garden shed as these buildings don’t generally have an attic and the beams are exposed so they can be reinforced readily.
An extensive roof may require once a year weeding but it is meant to be a low maintenance and virtually self sustaining roof requiring minimum maintenance. There are several steps in the process of designing and installing an extensive living roof. The first step is the roof itself. The roof must be able to withstand the additional weight so the roof structure may have to be reinforced. The next step is the waterproofing components. On top of the waterproofing material a drainage mat is installed. This mat has indentions whereby any excess water drains from the roof to the ground. The next thing installed is a form of blanket that retains moisture. On top of this blanket is the vegetation planting medium and the vegetation. Vegetation seeds may already bi waiting to grow in the growing medium.
The growing medium is not thick. It may be from one and a half inches to six inches in depth. This depth will allow growth of shallow rooted plants and preferably drought resistant plants.
This process does reduce your need for heating and air conditioning because it the same as plants on the ground, they breathe and living green plants cool the surrounding air. They also reflect the sun better than asphalt shingles or concrete. When the growth medium is in freezing air, it also freezes which effectively stops any air from flowing along the roof. On non-freezing days the plants and soil slow down any heat or cold from lying on the roof.
If you live in an area with a lot of rain like Oregon or Washington, then this type of green roof will reduce the water runoff as it is absorbed into the vegetation. This vegetation and grown material also acts as a filter so the water arrives on the ground or in a rain barrel clean.
Animal life loves a green roof. They add to the pleasure of the home owner as they provide a variety of movement and entertainment. A green roof has been proven to reduce your utility costs because of the way it interacts with the climate. If you are in a hot area then the plant life absorbs and reflects the sun which slows down the deterioration process of the roof. The more pitch to the roof, the less penetration of water will happen as the runoff of water will be quicker.
Finally, you can find more information on extensive roofs and their intensive cousins online at Green Roof Plan, a site dedicated to helping you build a beautiful, energy saving green roof – even if you’re just starting today.